Gene Corrigan, the University of Notre Dame's athletic director for the past 6 1/2 years, has agreed to become Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner, sources said yesterday.

But, because of vacations, conference officials will be unable to meet to formally name Corrigan until July 20 at the earliest, sources said yesterday.

Corrigan, 59, a former director of the ACC service bureau and athletic director at ACC-member Virginia, was a search committee's top choice to replace the late Bob James and had been deciding for more than two weeks whether to accept the job. He reportedly will be given a five-year contract at a salary that could not be learned.

Sources said Corrigan decided to leave one of the country's most visible athletic director posts and become the ACC commissioner to be closer to his seven children and five grandchildren. Five of his children live in Virginia; all five of his grandchildren live in Charlottesville.

Corrigan, also a member of the NCAA Council, attended his last meeting as a member of the NCAA's powerful Division I men's basketball committee in Hot Springs, Va., this week.

He and his wife, Lena, drove home and arrived in South Bend at midday yesterday.

Corrigan was unavailable for comment. His wife said, "He's still not commenting." Asked whether reports that he had accepted the job were true, she replied, "It remains to be seen."

No hangups are expected in completing the deal with Corrigan and the delay is caused because at least five of the league's eight faculty representatives and two of its athletic directors are on vacation. For instance, Bette F. Smith, Maryland's faculty representative, is on a golfing holiday in Ireland.

"You don't know how tough it is to get everybody together for a meeting in July," one conference source said. "And the {conference} constitution says we have to have a meeting in person, that we can't do it by telephone."

Approval at the meeting is basically a formality because the search committee is composed of four faculty representatives and four athletic directors -- all of whom have votes at a conference meeting.

Corrigan, a Baltimore native, is a 1952 graduate of ACC member Duke. He started his college coaching and administrative career at Washington and Lee in 1955.

In 1958, he became the head soccer and head lacrosse coach at Virginia, as well as an assistant basketball coach. Three years later, he was named Virginia's sports information director. He held that position until 1967, when he became an ACC assistant commissioner in charge of the the news bureau, officials and investigations.

Two years later, he was named athletic director at Washington and Lee. In 1971, he was named Virginia's athletic director, staying nine years before becoming the athletic director at Notre Dame.